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Etymology of Rus and derivatives
However, this state had no proper name; it was called by its inhabitants "Руськая Земля" (ruskaya zemlya) which could be translated as "Rusian Land" or "Land of Rus". In a similar fashion, Poland is still called Polska by its inhabitants, and the Czech Republic (Česká republika) is commonly called by this adjectival name. In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus by modern historiography.
In modern Russian language, there are two adjectives which can be both translated as "Russian". These are: russky, relating to the Russian people and their language, and rossiysky relating to the Russian state. In Polish on the other hand, rosyjski refers to modern Russian people, language and state, while ruski is either used to refer to the ancient Rus or as a derogatory term for modern Russians.
Some non-Normanist theories for the origins of Rus have been put forth, although without much success:
- From one of two rivers in the Ukraine (near Kiev and Pereyaslav), Ros and Rusna, whose names are derived from a postulated Slavic term for water, akin to rosa (dew).
- A Slavic word rusy (slightly red-haired), cognate with ryzhy (red-haired) and English red.
- A postulated proto-Slavic word for bear, cognate with arctos and ursus.
- The Iranian tribe of the Roxolani (from the Old Persian, rokhs).
In Old Russian literature, the East Slavs refer to themselves as (muzhi) ruskie ("the Rusian men") or (rarely) rusichi. It is thought the Slavs adopted that name from the Varangian elite of dubious extraction, which was first mentioned in the 860s (patriarch Photius and Frankish annals) under the name of Rhos. For the current balance of opinions on the Varangian Rus, see Rus' (people).
Other spellings used in Europe during the 9th and 10th century were as follows: Ruzi, Ruzzi, Ruzia, and Ruzari. But perhaps the most popular term to refer to the Rus was Rugi, a name of the ancient East Germanic tribe related to the Goths. Olga of Kiev, for instance, was called in the Frankish annals regina Rugorum, that is, "the Queen of Rugia".
In the 11th century, the dominant term in the Latin tradition was Ruscia. It was used, among others, by Thietmar of Merseburg, Adam of Bremen, Kozma of Prague , and by Pope Gregory VII in his letter to Izyaslav I. Rucia, Ruzzia, Ruzsia were alternative spellings of the word in the 11th century.
During the 12th century, Ruscia gradually made way for two other Latin terms, Russia and Ruthenia. Russia (also spelled Rossia and Russie) was a dominant Romance-language form, first used by Liutprand of Cremona in 960s and then by Peter Damiani in 1030s. It became ubiquitous in English and French documents in the 12th century. Ruthenia, first documented in the early 12th-century Augsburg annals, was a Latin form preferred by the Papal chancellery (see Ruthenia for more information).
From Rus to Rossiya
In modern English historiography, Kievan Rus is the most common name for the ancient East Slavic state, followed by Kievan Rus' , Kievan Russia, Ancient Russian state, and, extemely rarely, Kievan Ruthenia.
But Kievan Rus actually has two meanings:
- a small princedom around Kiev, incorporating the cities of Vyshgorod and Pereyaslav (roughly within a 200 kilometer radius of Kiev), and
- a vast political state (of the territories mentioned above) ruled first from Novgorod and then from Kiev.
The last mentioned country was subsequently divided into several parts, the most influential being Halich-Volyn Rus in the South, and Vladimir-Suzdal Rus and Novgorod Republic in the North. The southern part fell under Catholic Polish influence. The northern part fell under much weaker Mongol influence and went on to become a loose federation of principalities.
Byzantine hierarches established their own names for northern and southern part (in Greek): Μακρα Ρωσία (Makra Rosia, Great Russia) and Μικρα Ρωσία (Mikra Rosia, Little Russia) respectively.
Through the course of history, the Ruthenia form is more often used to denote southern parts of Rus or by south-western neighbours of Rus, while the Russia form is more often used to denote northern parts or the whole country or territory.
By the 15th century, the rulers of so-called Muscovy (a Western name for the Grand Duchy of Moscow) reunited northern parts of former Kievan Rus. Ivan III of Moscow was the first local ruler to accept a more pretentious title of the Grand Duke of all Rus. Even before that he was styled by the emperor Maximilian I rex albus and rex Russiae. Later, Rus' - in the Russian language - evolved to the Byzantine-influenced form Rossiya (Russia is Ρωσία (Rosia) in Greek).
From Rus to Ukraine
In the meantime, the south-western territories of the historical Rus were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (whose full name is "Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rus' and Samogitia"). The Grand Duchy of Lithuania, taken as a whole, was dominated by Rus, as it was populated mainly by Rus, its nobles were of Rus origins, and a variant of Old Russian language close to Belarusian was the sole language of most surviving official documents of the state prior to 1697. The rulers of Lithuania and Poland, however, used only "duke of Rus'" among their titles.
- Belorussia and Ruś Biała — White Ruthenia, White Russia or Belarus
- Chernaya Rus and Ruś Czarna — Black Ruthenia, part of modern Belarus
- Chervonaya Rus and Ruś Czerwona — Red Ruthenia, small strip in Poland (Przemysl), rest part of Ukraine (Galicia). Poland called the area the Ruthenian Voivodship.
Toward the end of the 18th century, the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Austria conquered and divided the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in a series of partitions, and all of Rus became part of the Russian Empire.
After 1840, the nationalists of the Brotherhood of Sts. Cyril and Methodius at Kiev resolved to change the name Malaya Rus' (Little Russia) to Ukrayina, drawing upon a name that appears on maps of Kiev and its local area (Kievan Rus) beginning in the 16th century - however, many scholars consider that it was an Old Russian word for a "border zone" since the 12th century.
In early 20th century, the name "Ukraine" was accepted in Galicia/Halychyna and the name "Ruthenia" became narrowed to the area south of the Carpathian mountains in the Kingdom of Hungary. Carpathian Ruthenia incorporated the cities of Mukachiv/Mukachevo/Munkács, Uzhhorod/Ungvár and Presov/Pryashiv/Eperjes. This area was part of the Hungarian kingdom since 907 AD, and had been known as "Magna Rus'," but was also called "Karpato-Rus'" or "Zakarpattya".
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